House Budget Committee
On Saturday, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Anecdotal evidence seems to show that the enthusiasm has definitely increased among conservative voters for the Romney campaign. The crowds have gotten larger at Romney-Ryan events. However, similar anecdotal evidence seems to show that the left is just as fired up and more motivated to defend Obama. Meanwhile, reading the Tweets and Facebook posts from my libertarian friends show that the Ryan pick has not made them more willing to consider the Romney ticket. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the Ryan selection.
The biggest positive about the Ryan selection is that this campaign may actually wind up being a debate on the future of our country. The Obama campaign is already seizing on the Ryan budget plan and is attacking it as destroying Medicare, Social Security, and just about every other government program under the sun. Now is an opportunity for the Romney-Ryan campaign to articulate an argument for limiting the size and scope of government as a means of reviving the economy. The American people would be well served by a debate over the size and scope of government. Also, ultimately, given the other choices that Romney was considering, Ryan was probably the best pick. Romney needed to pick someone who would fire up the ticket.
Speculation over Mitt Romney’s possible running mate has been rampant over the last few days. While other names are being floated, including David Petraeus and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, most observers seem to agree that it’s likely down to three candidates — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
Out of the three, Rep. Ryan is garnering the most attention. Many conservatives seem to want him included on the ticket, and they’re laying out a strong case. David Harsanyi, for example, explains that Rep. Ryan “would add a measure of number-crunching earnestness to a campaign (and then, more importantly, should it happen, to an administration) that lives on broad strokes.” However, some want him to remain in remain in the House, where, as chairman of the Budget Committee, he has laid the blueprint to fiscal reform. My colleagues Jeremy Kolassa and George Scoville have already touched on the need for Rep. Ryan to remain in the House for exactly this reason. Over at Outside the Beltway, Doug Mataconis noted that, as Vice President, Ryan would be largely marginalized.
There is a lot of speculation about who will be Romney’s running mate in November, now that we’re getting closer and closer to the national party conventions. Jason Pye has already gone over some of the Top Five picks, and one name that continually comes up is Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee.
I wish it wouldn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. Paul Ryan is pretty awesome. He was the first Republican to put forward a genuine, truly solid budget cutting plan, rather than just spouting platitudes and nonsense. (I’m sure we can all gripe about Ryan’s plan, and how it doesn’t go far enough, but you have to admit, for a body and a political party that frequently talks the talk but never walks the walks, the Ryan plan is an amazing start.) But that is precisely why I don’t want Ryan to be Romney’s VP.
As expected, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, unveiled his budget for FY 2013 yesterday. The proposal obviously carries over some familiar themes, but it shows that House Republicans aren’t backing down from their goal to get spending down to sustainable levels and deal with entitlements.
You can find the details here, but here is the video that Ryan released with his budget that outlines many of the policy items found therein:
We’re seeing a mixed to positive reaction on the right. Some Republican strategists are apparently nervous about the GOP putting forward a significant proposal. They think it’s bad politics. But Ryan is committed to leading the way, offering a stark contrast to what President Barack Obama and Democrats are putting forward.
Few members of the House have been more consistant in trying to keep the Obama Administration accountable for its economic policies than Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA). Recently, Rep. McClintock had the opportunity to question Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), about how President Obama’s economic policies are hurting the nation during a House Budget Committee hearing on the recent economic report released by his agency.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) put out a new video yesterday explaining why higher taxes isn’t the answer to our economic problems and pitches the need for reforming the tax code by closing tax loopholes and lowering tax rates, which will in turn encourage job creation and make our economy more competitive:
Given the speculation a couple of weeks ago, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently explained in an interview with the MacIver Institute why he decided not to seek the Republican nomination for president, despite pressure from many in his party to do so.
The bottomline is he thinks his calling is to stay in Congress:
Republicans were already thought to have a decent chance of taking over the Senate in the 2012 election, but they were given another opportunity to take a seat when Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) announced his retirement at the end of last week:
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) will announce Friday that he won’t seek reelection in 2012, a Democratic source confirmed.
Kohl, the quiet Wisconsin senator and owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, will depart from the Senate after four terms, setting up what could be a tough battle for his seat.
Kohl becomes the sixth senator in the Democrats’ corner to decline reelection next year; Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Jim Webb (Va.) have said they’ll retire at the end of this term, as will Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who caucuses with Democrats.
Although former Sen. Russ Feingold, who was defeated by Ron Johnson last year, would be an ideal candidate to run for the seat, Democrats are rumored to be recruiting Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who would be the first openly gay member fo the Senate if elected.
As you might expect, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is being mentioned as a potential Republican candidate, but he isn’t rushing to a decision. Ryan has faced criticism over his budget proposal, which would almost certainly be demagogued by his Democratic opponent and the DSCC, and also holds important positions where currently sits, including serving as Chairman of the House Budget Committee.
The big news yesterday was the budget, which you can read here, presented by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which would cut anywhere between $5.8 to $6.2 trillion (depending on the news story you’re reading) over the next 10 years:
House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a far-reaching budget proposal that cuts $5.8 trillion from anticipated spending levels over the next decade and is likely to provide the framework for both the fiscal and political fights of the next two years.
The ambitious plan, drafted principally by Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the Budget Committee, proposes not only to limit federal spending and reconfigure major federal health programs, but also to rewrite the tax code, cutting the top tax rate for both individuals and corporations to 25 percent from 35 percent, reducing the number of income tax brackets and eliminating what it calls a “burdensome tangle of loopholes.”
Ryan took to the Wall Street Journal to explain this budget:
Our budget, which we call The Path to Prosperity, is very different. For starters, it cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president’s budget over the next 10 years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt. Our proposal brings federal spending to below 20% of gross domestic product (GDP), consistent with the postwar average, and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion.
After promising $100 billion in spending cuts in the Pledge to America (p. 23), House Republicans have presented a budget that cuts only $32 billion over the remainder of the current fiscal year; about six months:
House Republican leaders on Thursday said they would seek $32 billion in spending cuts from the resolution currently funding the government.
Republicans framed their proposal as cutting $74 billion from President Obama’s 2011 budget request. However, because Obama’s budget was never approved by the last Congress, the cuts would actually be made against a continuing resolution now funding the government.
That resolution is to expire on March 4, and if lawmakers do not agree on another short-term measure or one funding the government for the rest of the year, they risk a government shutdown.
The GOP decision sets up a two-front battle with congressional Democrats and President Obama, who have warned that immediate spending cuts would damage the economy, and with conservative Tea Party-backed Republicans who want to make deeper cuts to spending.